Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 165 - Home

Hello everyone. Thank you all so so much for your good luck wishes and kind words.

I'm home now which is great. Surgery lasted 6 hours. Before anyone worries about this if they need scar revision I'll let you know that that portion of the surgery took only about an hour.

The reason it took so long is that I also got a rhinoplasty. Yep, the secret is out. It was nothing extreme, but anyone who has had jaw surgery knows that it changes your nose, too. For me my nose had significantly widened, and it widened even more whenever I smiled. The movement also exposed a bump on my nose. So my surgeon put in an extra couple of alar cinches and shaved down the bump on my nose. The tip was also refined to bring it back to a delicate point. I know that this will be worth it in the end, but I'll be honest when I say that I'm quite uncomfortable right now. My nose is packed and I have a "cast" over the bridge. Totally not comfy.

Also, I'm not sure if anyone remembers, but back when I had a fifth screw in my mouth with a rubberband it had cut the gum above my left tooth. It did heal one I got rid of that band, but it healed in a weird right angle shape higher than the gum on my right side. Therefore another aspect of todays procedure included a recontouring of that potion of my gums.

The scar on my right has been successfully freed from the muscle beneath it. One bit of good news was the fact that the scar tissue in my mouth seems to have sorted itself out because once Dr A got in there he didn't feel the need to remove anything. The last bit of surgery involved the burning off of a couple birthmarks with a cool radio wave machine.

So there you have it! That was today's surfgery. I'll add more to the update tomorrow, but for now I need to get some sleep. Thanks again everyone, your kindness means so much to me. Be well!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 164 - Surgery Part II

Hello everyone. Tonight's is a very quick update.

I'm doing well and my jaw feels great. The muscle on my right is rather stiff again, but my exercises should help out with that.

In 7 hours I will be going in for more surgery. This time it will be to removed the bands of scar tissue from inside my mouth and revise the scar that has adhered to my muscle. I'm neither nervous nor excited. It's something that needs to be done and so I accept it for what it is.

Surgery won't last too long, I think only three hours. Even better is the fact that I won't be staying over night in the hospital. Thank goodness! My best friend went in for surgery herself today, though of a totally different kind, so we'll be hospital buddies. Best friends for years and now this - life is funny sometimes, but I'm glad for it in this case. Friends work wonders for healing :)

I hope you are all well and I promise to update you all as soon as I feel up to it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 160 - Christmas Cheer

decorating the tree


Sweet new earmuffs

The "kids" table. When did we become the "young adult" table?

More gifts!
Hello bloggers. And for those of you who celebrate it - Merry Christmas!
This was my first Christmas with the "new face" and the first in in more than 7 years without pain, cracks and clicks. A Christmas miracle if ever there was. It was a lovely day with friends and family. For the very first time we included people other than the immediate family in our Christmas eve and morning traditions. Two of Zoe's friends joined us, and for one it was his very first Christmas. We woke up to gifts and then my aunt, uncle and two cousins joined us for family time and Christmas dinner. Toasts and laughter were abundant and fun was had by all. :)
My jaw was great today and I was thrilled to be able to enjoy the day sans pain and distraction. Equally thrilling was the ability to chow down just like I used to without worrying about whether or not I could handle the texture of the food. It's such a blessing to be back to normal again.
I do of course have pictures that I will post a.s.a.p. for all of you. To those of you who celebrated the holiday I hope it was blessed and filled with good times. For those who do not, I hope today was lovely just the same!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 158 - Making Christmas

Hi bloggers! Day 158 has been busy busy busy. Christmas is almost upon us and that means getting ready. I've spent the entire day unpacking the last of my college stuff and cleaning up my room. After that I've been a right little kitchen mouse. So far I've made two varieties of cookies, linzer bars and cupcakes. That list will certainly grow by Sunday, but for now I'm all baked out.

Today my jaw cause no problems at all. I confess that these days I hardly notice it at all. The only times that I'm reminded of the fact that I'm still healing are when I remember the things I can't do yet (like snowboarding), when I make sure I don't knock myself or get knocked in the face, or when I remember I don't feel quite safe sleeping on my stomach yet. Other than those things and a slight bit of swelling life is totally back to normal. My gums are still rather numb, but the surface has regained most of its feeling back. The deep tissue is what is still it's difficult to believe that just five months ago I was swollen like an easter island head and still in the hospital. A lot has changed, to say the least!

Be well everyone. And to those of you who just recently had surgery (Tara and the others) you guys are doing great! I promise it gets better :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 157 - Good Memories & Graduations

Hello there bloggers! It's day 157 and I am tuckered out to say the least. Today was a long day, but it was definitely a good one.

My big sister (my best friend) graduated from college today! It's hard to believe the girl that used to struggle through school graduated from a university ranked in the top 2% in the world. Not only that but she graduated with honors (cum laude) and a semester early to boot! Congratulations Zoe Gabrielle. I love you so very much and I'm more proud of you than I can say.

Since it's Zoe's graduation the day was dedicated to her. We woke up early and headed off to the school for the ceremony and then off to a super fancy dinner with one of her friends (also a graduate - congratulations Steve!) and his family and then headed back home. This long wonderful day has come to a close and I'm one tired girl!

My jaw feels great. To emphasize the point I chowed down on 16oz of fillet mignon and enjoyed every steak-y bite! Healing is such a cool thing  :)

I hope you are all well and enjoying the holiday season!

Tara - I saw you got through surgery safe and sound. Congratulations on making it to the other side. I'm sorry I didn't get to comment sooner, but I have been keeping track of your blog. You're already almost through the first week. Keep it up girl, you're such a strong person!  :)

I do have pictures from today but I will post them later as I desperately need to get to sleep.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 153 - Home for the Holidays

Hi there bloggers! Day 153 is drawing to a close. At long last I'm home for the winter break. It really hasn't set in that I have no class for more than a month and that Christmas is just a week away. I need to find something to get me in the holiday spirit.

My jaw treated me just fine today. Not a pain, crunch, creak or crack to speak of. Yippee!

Sorry for the short post but moving has worn me out. Be well everyone!  :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 152 - Goodbye Fall Semester, Hello Winter Break!

Hi everyone! It's day 152 and it is my last night at college until next semester. It's so strange to me that it feels like just yesterday I came back to school with a puffy face and a mouth that I could hardly open wide enough for a pancake. However it happened, time has flown and semester has come to a close. When I look back the the beginning of September I see such a huge difference in my healing progress.

My jaw felt great today as I enjoyed a super relaxed and lazy last day. My muscles are a bit stiff today and I'm curious to see how bad they do or do not get over break. I really don't want all of that physical therapy to go to waste so I will definitely keep up with my exercises.

Tomorrow I go home, and I only hope that break is just as interesting and note-worthy as the past couple months have been. I also look forward to what it will bring in terms of healing and final revisions. I can't wait until I have a break from school where I don't have to think about surgery, but for now I'll take what I can get!

I hope you are all well, wherever you may be.

Tara - I wish you the very best during your surgery. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and sending positive vibes to you and your surgical team. Pretty soon you'll be posting your "on the other side" update and I can't wait to read it. Good luck!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 151 - Finally Done!

Hello everyone! It's day 151, which for me has been awesome. Why was it awesome, you ask? Because I finished up with my last final exam! I was a bit nervous as it was the final for my weakest class, but I studied hard and was prepared. When I sat the exam I knew exactly what to do, and finished the test in about 25 minutes. After that freedom officially set in. I won't be getting picked up until sunday, though, so I have a some time to myself. Tomorrow I'll be packing and cleaning then attending a Christmas party. Sunday morning will be move day.

My jaw was just fine today. I remember mentioning that when I sleep sometime my jaw will click as the muscle relaxes. That's still been happening though not as frequently, so I'm hoping that eventually it will stop entirely. Swelling is up a bit from clenching my teeth while studying, but it's not too bad. For the most part things are going just fine.

I hope that you're all well and that you all have nice relaxing weekends ahead of you. Until next post!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 149 - A Free Day

Hey there bloggers! I hope today finds you all in a good mood. It's day 149 of recovery and I feel great. Today I got to relax and spend time with friends before diving into studying for my last exam. Freedom is so close!

All of the insurance things have gone through for the second surgery, so it's all systems go. The plan is for my family to pick me up on sunday and then I will get my pre-op blood work and physical done. After that it's time for the holidays and then December 30th is surgery day. The idea of more surgery is a little strange, but I just keep reminding myself that once this is done, all will be as it should be. It is an interesting way to ring in the new year, though.

My jaw was just fine today, and there were no problems to speak of. Yippee!

I hope you all are well! :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 148 - One Down, One to Go

Hi there bloggers! It's day 148 now. I've enjoyed a nice break today  since I finished my next to last exam. There are a few days left until the exam so I can relax a bit until then. At last it feels like break really is on the way and I'll be home for the holidays. :)

My jaw feels really wonderful these days. It still doesn't feel "normal," but it certainly doesn't feel bad. There's no pain and no constant urge to crack my jaw anymore. There's really no way to put what I feel into words when I think about that. Amazing doesn't adequately explain it.

Be well, everyone and keep smiling!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 147 - Friends and Finals

Hello all, day 147 has come and gone. In true end of term fashion I've been hitting the books hard. Thankfully I have some wonderful friends as study buddies. It really is amazing how just studying with another person is enough to keep the stress away. Friends really are wonderful.

I had my last day of physical therapy until next year. My next appointment is scheduled for February 3, 2012. My therapist took some measurements to send Dr A a report of my progress and then gave me exercise and stretching techniques to do at home over break so that I don't lose any of the progress that I've made. Some of the things I've learned really are useful and worth maintaining. My posture has improved significantly which allows me to hold my jaw correctly. This prevents the muscles from getting too tense and helps combat TMJ issues. Physical therapy has been incredibly beneficial, and I'm thankful for what I've learned.

Things on the jaw front were just fine today. All in all things are great. No pain = the greatest thing in the world :)

There is one thing, though, which I think is worth mentioning to Dr A before surgery. On the right side of my jaw there is a bump on the bone. It's been there for a while, and it doesn't hurt, but as the swelling goes down it seems to be more pronounced. I don't see it being a problem, but I want to make sure that it really is a bone thing and not scar tissue or anything like that.

Be well, everyone and keep warm. The temperature's a-droppin'!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 146 - Small Victories..and Little Tumbles

Hello everyone, day 146 is over and I'm basking in the small victory that is my completion of my final essay for my Victorian Britain class. One weekend of hard work has paid off, and I can relax a bit until my next exam. Tomorrow is the last day of classes for the semester. I cannot wait until I'm done with finals! I'll be able to relax without worrying whether or not I'm forgetting something important.

Today there were no problems whatsoever from my jaw. I even ate a nice crunchy pizza crust without worrying that I'd snap something. Another small victory :)

I did have a scary moment today, though. For the first time ever I fell off of my longboard. One minute I was staring at the bump that I knew would be my literal downfall, and the next my nose was an inch from the pavement. Thank goodness for reflexes and strong arms or else I would've landed flat on my face. (Don't worry mom, I'm safe!) It rattled me a bit, but all is well. There's not a scratch on me.

Other than that all is well, and I'm feeling good. Finals week isn't nearly as bad as the last one and I'm just coasting through at this point.

I hope you all are well (and stay away from bumps on boards!)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 145 - Weekend Warrior

Hey everyone. Sorry for the super late post, but I've been a real study bug today and I've been working on final essays.

My jaw felt really good today, and I didn't notice any problems at all. Every day there is less and less to note.

Today was quite uneventful (after all there's nothing fun about studying) so I don't have anything interesting to share. I'm pooped, though so I'm calling it a night. Tomorrow is another long day and then I can relax again for a bit. I'm really glad I spaced out my work the way I did - it's way easier and far less stressful Always a good thing!

Be well everyone :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 143 - Cold Weather's Coming

Hello all! Its day 143 and I have exactly one week left before I'm done with semester. Goodness, it really feels like I just started semester yesterday. Though it is the weekend there will be no rest for me. I've got ten pages worth of final essay to write before monday at 5 o' clock, so I will be spending the weekend writing that up. Monday I'll study some more, take a Tuesday exam and then have a small break until Friday. My goal is to do the best I possibly can on these finals, so starting tomorrow things move into heavy study mode.

Studying isn't the only thing headed my way - the cold is at last setting in. I can't tell if the seasons are growing milder or if I'm less sensitive to the cold than I was as a child, but December seems different than I remember. Some days a light jacket is sufficient. Late or not, the cold weather is here and I think the mild days are coming to an end. Bring on the snow!

Today I had no problems to speak of with my jaw, but also nothing new, either good or bad. Not that I really expect much change this far out. Not being in pain is enough for me. :)

I hope this post finds you all well!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 142 - The Study Marathon Continues

Hi there everyone! It's day 142 now and I've been busy preparing for finals. Like yesterday, there wasn't much worth mentioning.

My jaw feels fine, and swelling is going down even more. I also feel like I can open a bit wider than I could a couple days ago. Yay! I love progress, no matter how small :)

Tomorrow begins the really intense bit of studying, but compared to midterms, finals are much easier this time around. Thank goodness. My last class is monday, my last final is friday, and then I can be home with my family. I am beyond excited.

Be well, all! Those of you that got snow I hope you're nice and warm, perhaps by a lovely warm fire.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 141 - A Rather Uneventful Day

Hello all. Day 141 has been really uneventful. The work towards finals continues, so that's what I've been concentrating on. I'm feeling food though. :)

My jaw feels fine today, though I did notice the cold bothered my face more than usual today. I hope it's not going to become a constant thing to deal with during cold weather. Winter will set in soon enough and let me know.

Sorry for the short post, but an uneventful day means nothing to write about. Be well, everyone!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 140 - Being Studious

Good evening to all of you on day 140. It was a rainy day marked with the continuation of finals week work. Despite having some form of work to do every day, it is far better than delaying all of it for the last minute and stressing out. I think there's only one week left for my semester. Wow, how did that happen?

Speaking of not many days left, the time is going by quickly until my revision surgery comes. It's less than a month away now. That's a bit surreal to me still, having more surgery. I'm just thankful that it is nothing major or requiring long recovery again.

My jaw was just fine today, though the school work meant that I neglected my jaw excercises. I'm usually very good with doing them every day, and I hope that I don't miss them too often during finals week. After all it's not long before I go without therapy for more than a month, and it would be good to get into the habit of doing my exercises regularly.

I hope you are all well, and those of you in the final exam boat with me, I wish you the best of luck! :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 139 - Work Week

Hello all, it's day 139. This week is the last full week of classes. Next week I have exams and then it's home for the holiday! I can't wait, but it seems like there's still so much to do. Christmas shopping and final projects and exams. The next 9 days are going to be absolutely bonkers!

My jaw felt lovely and pain free today. I had physical therapy again, and things are going well. So well, in fact, that next monday's might be my last appointment. During the break I won't see my therapist, and she said that we will only continue PT if my surgeon thinks it is necessary. It's hard to believe that not that long ago I couldn't open wide enough to eat a noodle, and now we're considering the end of therapy. I've said it before - the body and the healing process are insanely cool.

As it's such an uneventful day on all other fronts I've finally got a new picture for all of you.

Be well, you wonderful people! :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 138 - Winding Down

Hi everyone. Day 138 has ended and the finals days of class are on the way. Pretty soon semester will be over and I'll be home for the holiday break. I can't wait, but before I can enjoy break I need to get through finals, which means the next week and a half will be busy busy busy.

Today everything was fine with my jaw. In truth I hardly thought about it at all, which is good. I find myself thinking less about surgery as time goes on. I'll take that as a sign that things are really back to normal in more ways than not.

Another plus is that the cold I've been fighting has disappeared. Thank goodness! I really didn't want to face finals week feeling under the weather.

I hope all of you are doing well!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 137 - Friends and Fun

Good evening bloggers. Day 137 is drawing to a close and it's been a good one to say the least.

A friend who I rarely see was finally free at the same time as me and we spent our day at the mall, baking cookies and playing old video games. It doesn't really take much to stay amused when the company is good.

Things with my jaw have been just fine. No pain, swelling or inconvenience to speak of, which I love.

I can't believe how soon my next surgery is. It seems like I've just finally gotten close to totally normal and now I have more surgery. Of course this one isn't nearly as intense and I won't be recovering for too long, but it's still strange. Oh well, if it means fixing everything and getting rid of scar tissue then that's what needs to be done.

Be well everyone! I think I'm going to post a picture tomorrow since that's a week from the last one. Until tomorrow!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 136 - Sniffles and Wheezing

Hello all, it's day 136. Unfortunately I have a nasty cold, but I'm not letting it get me down. I had an early day, went to physical therapy, boarded around campus and went to the gym. A perfect Friday despite the sniffles and wheezing.

Physical therapy went really well. My therapist is happy with the progress I'm making with improving the deviation and with improving my mobility. She has even informed me that she will stop mobilization until after surgery. Because scar tissue is in the way, she doesn't want to over mobilize me to the point where there are problems when the scar tissue is removed and no longer hinders mobility. We can always do more mobilization, but we're stopping now just to be safe. It makes sense to me, and I appreciate the foresight.

My jaw felt really good, and I had no soreness during or after my therapy appointment, which is a first. Usually massaging the muscles in my face has an ouch factor, but not today. Even when it seems like I'm too far out to notice change, something improves that I didn't realize needed improving to prove me wrong. This process is just full of surprises.

Tomorrow I get to start my Christmas shopping. I love hunting down the right gifts for the ones I love and I'm looking forward to the rare mall excursion.

I hope you all are well. Keep those weather change flus and colds away! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 135 - Hello December!

Hello bloggers. It's day 135 and December has arrived! I'm so excited :) December is one of my favorite months. I'm looking forward to the the holiday season; the winter break, the family and friends, the decorating and baking, the fires and hot chocolate, the snow and the lights. Everything about the coming month makes me happy.

My jaw felt just fine today. Better yet, despite the cold, I experienced no facial discomfort beyond what one normally feels on a cold day. I'm so relieved that cold isn't going to be a problem. My gums are finally starting to get back some feeling. They're still seriously numb, but I can actually feel some things now. I'd say that they're about 50%. All of the other numbness has dissipated. Once in a while I notice little numb spots, but they are small, usually in my chin and below my nose. I'm feeling really great.

I'm also beginning to think of starting another blog. This part of my life is over, but I feel like blogging has been really great for me, and I'd like to continue. Obviously this blog can't go on forever, and I have so much I'd like share and to write about, that I think it might be a good idea to create a blog for something other than surgery. After all there is a lot more to me and my life than jaw surgery. I'll think on it.

Be well, all!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 134 - Farewell November!

It's been 134 days of recovery, bloggers! And can you believe that tomorrow is the first day of December?
Surgery was before mid-summer, and now winter is on the way. On the plus side, for me, December is the month of holiday warmth and cheer. I look forward to it every year, and I'm determined for this December to be cheerful and warm, despite living away at school.

Today was as uneventful as yesterday, though uneventful is certainly not synonymous with bad. Going to class, taking notes, being a good student and getting things done, while not fun, feels good. It's great to feel as though I'm accomplishing something.

Today my jaw felt fine. Without the rubber bands, my lips are shifting back "in" for lack of a better word, and the lower left screw is bothering the inside of my lips. Dental wax fixes that up easily enough, though. I'm just so happy with the fact that I don't have any pain. Clicking is still a "problem," but not in the way it used to be. Before surgery I would have to deliberately pop my jaw, now it only clicks when I relax my jaw while laying on my side. The popping is in a different place and completely painless. But hey, as long as there's no pain, I'll take the occasional pop or click.

Because the next few days will be work heavy for me at school, my posts will probably be rather uneventful, so I apologize in advance. I'll do my best to keep them interesting.

Be well, all. :) Wave goodbye to November, and make room for Mr. Winter!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 133 - Back to the Gym

Hi everyone! It's day 133 now of my recovery.

Break truly over and so it's back to the gym for me. I really have begun to enjoy my workouts. There's something about a good workout that just makes me feel really accomplished. My gym buddy, D, is definitely a huge help. Having someone else makes the workout easier, and motivates me to do my best.

My jaw feels great today. I was able to crunch down on some super crunchy cereal today, too. It's so good to be able to eat something without worrying about popping a plate!

And speaking of plates, I have a hardware-related question from a follower. Max asked me about the screws in my mouth; if they can be seen and how they'd be removed. To answer the first part - yes, they can be seen. The permanent screws and plates are of course visible only on x-ray but the four IMF screws are visible. I will try to post a pic for everyone. As for removal, as terrifying as it sounds, they are simply unscrewed just like any other screw. No numbing agents are needed and the surgeon uses a philips screw driver to remove them. It sounds freaky, but doesn't hurt one bit. I hope this answered your question. :)

On the downside I feel a cold coming on. I'm determined to not get horribly sick as finals are coming up, so I will be drinking tons of orange juice and taking my vitamin. Have to keep healthy!

I hope you are all well!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 132 - A Neutral Day

Hello to everyone out in blog land! I don't have much to say about day 132 to be honest. It was simply one of those days that comes and before you know it it goes. The first day back from a break is always like that, though. This week I plan to take it easy and do a little bit of work every day. Finals will be here before I know it, so I really need to make sure I keep on top of things.

My jaw felt good today, and I'm pleased to see that there is no worsening of my deviation now that the bands are over. Hopefully it means that next time I see Dr A I can get the screws taken out! They don't hurt or anything but it would be nice to have my mouth back to normal and hardware free. Compared to the wires though this is cake, and I really shouldn't complain.

Sorry for the super lame post, but not every day can be exciting, lol. I hope you all are doing really well. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 131 - Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Hi all, it's has been 131 days since I had my surgery. Though I'm back at school now, my day was spent having tons of fun with my family.

We went on our yearly Christmas tree hunt at a tree farm near my home. It was a full day of family shenanigans and I loved every minute of it. Our dog even came along for the trip. We hunted for, found and cut down our tree and then picnicked on some Thanksgiving leftovers and hot chocolate. I really love my family's traditions. :)

My jaw was entirely a-ok, a fact for which I'm super thankful. Every day without pain seems like such a blessing.

I hope you all are well!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 130 - Little Miss Fix It

Hi bloggers! It's day 130 and I feel fantastic. :)

Swelling is down noticeably from last week, and my jawline is more pronounced. There's still definite bits of swelling all over my face, but knowing that this can last up to a year, and considering how good it looks now I'm totally fine with that. For people who don't know there is swelling, they'd never be able to pick up on it.

Today also marks about 4 days since I've been "sans bands." I haven't noticed any problems whatsoever. Deviation is neither better nor worse. The only thing I did notice is that I can relax more at night, and my muscles aren't as stiff from clenching now that I have the bands off. Relaxing while lying on my left does lead to some clicking, but it is painless and just a result of the joint relaxing. I'll only start to worry if it hurts.

I spent a good portion of the day being handy and helping out my dad with our latest home improvement project. We're putting up pine boards on the first floor for that cabin-y feel, so Dad and I decided to have a father daughter day with it. I helped him measure, cut, and install boards. Things definitely progressed much faster with two people working. Usually my poor father manages on his own. It was loads of fun and the work was rewarding. Ten years from now those walls will still be there, and I'll remember that I helped put them up.

Of course all that work had me totally pooped, so I spent my evening watching more movies. We got through two Indiana Jones movies and A Christmas Carol, which by the way I love. All in all, today was great. Tomorrow the family is going Christmas tree hunting. It's usually an all day affair where we bring lunch, hot chocolate and the family dog. Every year it's fun, so I'm definitely looking forward to it.

I hope you all are well and didn't have too much to do this Saturday! Until next post :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 129 - A Lazy Friday

Hello all. Today,  day 129, may have bwen black Friday but no way would you have found me anywhere near retail land. Instead I spent a relaxing day at home with my mother.

My jaw was just fine of course, and more to the point my swelling is down even more. My jaw line is really starting to become more noticeable. I have to admit that I like what I'm seeing. Every day I feel more confident and was afraid of hurting myself or messing stuff up. It could be my imagination  it it also seems as I'd that front tooth is beginning to migrate back to where it's supposed to be. I certainly hope it is.

My mother and I really were quite lazy today. We spent our evening watching movies on the couch and just having an all around good time. Plus we had the luxury of not needing to cook with all of the leftovers in the house. Sometimes lazy days are just perfect.

Tomorrow I get to help my father put pine panels up on our walls to make the inside of our house look like an Adirondack cabin. I love these kinds of projects so I'm looking forward to the day ahead of me.

I hope you all are doing well and haven't gotten too sick of turkey yet!

Today is the first day since my surgery that I haven't taken a picture.  It feels weird and makes me a little sad, but it had to happen eventually. Thankfully it happened far enough out where I won't have missed documenting any noticeable changes. I'll try and snap a shot for tomorrow.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 128 - Give Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you awesome people in blog land! Day 128 and it was Thanksgiving! I have an incredible amount of things to be thankful for! With all due credit to Dani for the idea, here is a list of 10 things am thankful for this year:

      1. My wonderful and loving family - they have supported me and encouraged me in all that I do.    For that I will always be thankful. I love you guys more than I can ever say.

      2. I am thankful for all of my friends. Without you my life wouldn't be nearly as exciting.

      3. The blessing that is my education at a top university. A great start for a better future.

      4. I am very thankful for the smooth healing and pain-free life. Life without pain is something I thought I would never have again.

      5. My ability to eat again. It really is something that far too many take for granted. I hope I never lose sight of how lucky I am.

      6. The totally, epically, scrumptiously fantastic Thanksgiving dinner that my family got to share today. Mom, you are awesome!

      7. As strange as it sounds I am thankful for my surgical experience. It's something I never thought I would be able to have, and it taught me so much about myself. I'm stronger for it, I have a better outlook on life, and it has given me the confidence to be the best me I can be.
      8. I am thankful for my adorable, sobberpus of a dog, Kahlua. She is by far the greatest doggie in the world and she makes me happy just looking at her. Her presence was such a comfort during those early weeks of my recovery.

      9. To shamelessly steal from Dani again; I am thankful for the blogging community. You guys are so amazing! Your experiences helped me so much and made things 10 billion times easier. You've all been kind and encouraging, and beyond helpful. I only hope that one day I can help someone as much as all of you have helped me.

      10. Last, but not least, I am thankful for the coming holiday season. It always brings me back to the best days of childhood, and warms me right to the heart. Everything from the snow and decorations to the family and even the church service make me feel happy.

Today I hardly thought of my jaw beyond the thought that I was happy to eat my dinner with a fork. That, and I ate a carrot! I had to nibble at it rather than chomp down, but a carrot is a carrot, and I'll take it.

My family came over and we shared a wonderful day together. It was really nice to have the house filled with relatives. Dinner was amazing, and the company was even better. This Thanksgiving was definitely a success. :)

I hope you have all had a great Thanksgiving. May we never lose sight of those things for which we are thankful.

Our small family <3

The four cousins

Silly videos

The little sisters :)

lovable slobberpus - Kahlua

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 127 - Appointments and Preparations

Hello there everyone! Today, day 127, has been lovely. I'm home for Thanksgiving break and I had an appointment with Dr A. And...I now have a surgery date!

The appointment went really well. Dr A seemed excited about the progress I've made in opening my mouth and my healing overall. Things have really turned out great. The screws did not come out today, but they don't bother me so I'm alright with that. However, I have been instructed to stop wearing the bands until next time I see my surgeon. He said that this will hopefully allow that front tooth to move back to where it was. The problem with my jaw deviating the left is getting much better with therapy, so he isn't worried about not having bands on to guide me. That, plus the fact that most people are out of bands around 8 - 12 weeks. Yay, no more bands (I hope)!

Best of all we have a plan for revision surgery and a tentative date! Surgery is set for December 30th. I think that's really appropriate. This whole process really kicked of with the removal of my wisdom teeth at the end of this past January, so it seems fitting that the year will close with my last surgical procedure and (for the most part) close this chapter in my life. 2011 has been one crazy year for me to say the least. The surgical plan is that Dr A will free up the scar on my right cheek from the underlying muscle and then he will remove the scar tissue from inside my mouth. It shouldn't be a tough recovery at all, and I will have the entire month to re-heal a bit before returning to University for spring semester. I'm excited :)

Even beyond the super positive and exciting appointment today was pleasant. As I said, I am home for a break, which is awesome. Tomorrow I'll be helping my mother prepare Thanksgiving dinner. I have a yummy recipe that I'm going to try out. Then my aunt, uncle, and cousins will be joining us for the feast. It will be a fun day of family and thanks...and amazing food. Yippee!

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving! Be well :)

I also decided to do something different for today's pictures. Rather than the usual profile shots I'm posting the first really "glamorous" pictures of me since surgery to show you something fun and new.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 126 - Thanksgiving Break!

Hello there bloggers! Today, day 126 of healing, is winding down. And that means one thing for students at my University: Thanksgiving break has arrived! I'll be home for the holiday break tomorrow and eating delicious home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner by Thursday. Yay! Perhaps I will even get to bake loads of delicious treats. I've got a ton of new recipes that I'd like to try.

Today was just fine for me and my jaw. As expected, the swelling from PT has dissipated. I'm still a bit stiff, but after the therapy yesterday it's not nearly as bad. I took a muscle relaxer last night for the first time in a while, and that seems to have helped un-knot things a bit, too.

I finally have an appointment with Dr A. Tomorrow morning at 9, which means I need to be up and off campus by 8. Boo for early mornings. It will be worth it though, because I have a ton of questions (what else is new, right?). Hopefully I'll find out more about that revision stuff. It was supposed to happen about two weeks after I discussed it with Dr A, but things have been pretty hectic so I have no idea what's going on with that right now. I can wait though. For me the most important part is over. I'm pain free, confident and thrilled with the results. Revision can wait if it needs to.

I hope you are all doing very well tonight! My next post will come from home sweet home. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 125 - Puffy and Stiff

Hello everyone! It's day 125 and I'm doing pretty good for the most part.

I say for the most part because I had physical therapy today. This past week I've been bad with my exercises, and boy did it bite me in the butt! I was super stiff, so it took a while to work out the knots again, particularly that one on the right side of my face. All the massaging and tension-loosening makes for a puffy Nora. Oh well, hot packs and upright sleeping it is! So much for progress :/

Other than that I'm just ducky. Despite the stiffness I'm not at all sore (unless you count the ouch factor of working out knotted jaw muscles). Now my only real concern is my shifting teeth and when I'll be allowed to stop wearing these stupid rubber bands. I should know more come wednesday. I really need an appointment. I haven't seen Dr A in almost two months! Frustrating, to say the least.

I know this post sounds mostly negative, but I swear that I feel just fine and dandy. Sometimes the truth just isn't pretty and cheerful. Tomorrow I have to give a ten minute French presentation - the first since surgery. It feels like speaking French is a bit harder than it used to be, almost like I have to re-learn to make certain sounds with my new mouth. Keeping my fingers crossed that I dont look like too much of a blithering idiot when I get up to present tomorrow!!!

I hope you all are well! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 124 - Work Days

Hi all! Day 124 has come and gone and I've done nothing but work work work. The semester is winding down, and with Thanksgiving break comes the scramble to finish up assignments. I wish I could say that that would bring relief, but it just means finals week will be that much closer. Ick! I'm more than ready for this semester to just be over.

I really don't have much to say about anything, though I really am starting to suspect that inconsistencies from one day to the next in terms of my profile really is due to my shifting teeth. Or maybe having the rubber bands constantly pulling my lower jaw to the right is the culprit? Either way my lower jaw isn't being allowed to meet the upper like it did after surgery, and the only explanation I can think of is the shifting bite. I really really really really hope that one day I can have all of this dental/jaw stuff finally work out and just be normal. It is quite frustrating encountering new problems this far along. Oh well. I see Dr A soon so hopefully I can get my questions answered. Keeping my fingers crossed!

I hope the rest of you are doing really well!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 123 - Making Goals

Good evening everyone. It's now day 123. I feel quite well today, and I'm feeling positive and inspired.

My jaw feels great, swelling is going down noticeably again, and I feel as though I look better every day.

This good feeling has brought on a wave of inspiration for me. I spent so long trying to just go along with things before surgery, or even hiding,  and after I've just felt like a "patient" for so long. Now that things really are so close to normal I feel myself wanting to go out and do things. I want to revamp my wardrobe and shine every day - to start taking care of my appearance more. Experiment and be girly, I'm young and quirky and I just need to enjoy it. I've lost sight of some of my favorite things in life, and I want to rediscover and expand my interests. All of these things have inspired my to make a list of my goals. Starting now, and certainly as my New Year's resolution, my goal is to remember what I want every day, and then make it happen. I'm ready to just embrace life more than ever. :)

This week I aim to:
      - Read a new book
      - Try one new hairstyle
      - Commit to waking up earlier in the day

I hope you all are well!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 122 - Dress Up

Hi everyone, it's day 122 of my recovery and I'm having a silly good time. Most of my friends are off doing their own thing tonight, and so I thought I'd just have a quiet night in dorm land. Well boredom somehow lead to me playing dress up to appease my inner child, and I think I found a look for any holiday parties I may be invited to. Too soon? Oh well, it must be the Christmas music that is already streaming through the radio.

My jaw was just ducky today, and I felt brave enough to try my sandwich on a tougher roll. I did it! Progress is definitely being made every day in the food department, and never have I appreciated my ability to eat more than now. I've also been good with my rubber bands the past couple of days, and thankfully my lazy moments haven't caused any apparent problems. Whew!

Please excuse the excessive makeup in these next photos, but a girl has to have fun every now and then, no?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 121 - Brrrr!

Good evening to you all. Day 121 has been blustery, rainy and cold indeed! It dawned on me that there really are no more warm days until next year. *Sigh* Oh well, it just means that the season for snowmen, snowboards, hot chocolate and frosty glass is almost upon us! Yippee! I'm excited :)

My face was just fine today, and the cold wasn't too much of a problem. Of course it wasn't even below 40 degrees today, so there is still plenty of time for the temperature to drop and make me crazy. Hopefully the cold won't be such an issue now that things aren't so freshly broken and sensitive. I also didn't have any issues with tooth sensitivity today. Maybe it's an on-again, off-again kinda thing?
Off-again preferably.

Aside from the onset of chilly weather, today was pretty neutral. Therefore I leack cool things to tell all of you. Stay well and stay warm!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 120 - A Runway of My Own

Hey all! It's day 120. Can you believe that I've kept this blog for 120 days already? This is probably the most dedicated I've ever been to anything. Just having this place where I can be me, and knowing the support and encouragement of a community filled with those who truly understand is, at least in my opinion, what has made keeping this blog as easy and rewarding as it has been.

Today my jaw was totally fine, though I noticed a new pain, for lack of a better word. As my gums are regaining feeling I've noticed that my teeth are occasionally hypersensitive. It isn't a constant state, but more of the occasional moment that makes me go "oh!" and feel my tooth. Almost like when you sink your teeth into cold ice cream too long, or knock your teeth together too hard. Oh well, annoying as it may be it's a sign that the last little things are finally getting back to normal. 

Another thing this surgery has done for me that I really haven't talked about is give me a confidence boost. I don't feel like everyone stares at me and thinks I look weird or "unfortunate" in my appearance. These days I really feel like dressing up, and putting myself out there. Look at me, world, I'm beautiful, and no one can take that from me. I just feel more confidence in how I look walking down the street or across campus, and I don't try to hide anymore. Next to being pain-free, this is one of the greatest blessings of all, and one that I will try not to forget even on my worst days. :)

I hope you all are well today, and if you're second guessing your decision to have this surgery I urge you to really talk it out and think hard. It has its definite ups and downs, but overall it has brought nothing but good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 117 - Obligation Free Day

Greetings to all of my wonderful followers today on day 117. For the first time in a while, and the last time until semester ends, I've had a day where I was able to just relax and not worry about a paper or an exam. I spent it in blissful couch-potato-ish-ness. Yes, it was worth of inventing a word. :)

I had no pain again today, an my mobility is just as good as it was yesterday. In the past the day following mobilization I would be stiff, and my mobility actually temporarily decreased. Today, on the other hand, I had no stiffness and mobilization remained the same as yesterday. Hooray for signs of healing!

Sorry for the short post, but today really wasn't note worthy at all.

I hope that my post today finds all of you well and in good spirits. Until next post!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 116 - Gaining Movement...and Confession Time

Hello everyone, it's day 116 now, and I'm feeling pretty good...well sorta

I had more physical therapy today. My therapist is really impressed with the improvement I've made all around. I can use heavier weights now when she makes me do posture exercises, the flexibility is returning to my neck, the knots in my back are at last easing up, and I can open my mouth a little more. Last time we measured I was opening at 33mm, and I'm now opening at around 36mm. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it's progress nonetheless. Not to mention when it comes to opening one's mouth, a couple millimeters is significant. It's the difference between a hearty sandwich and a wimpy one, lol.

There are a couple concerns that I've had for a while now. I haven't voiced them because it makes them real, but I feel I need to all the same. You guys have been honest with me and supportive, and right now that's what I need. I feel as though the break on my left is loose or never healed or something. Some days my jaw looks more recessed on the left than on the right, and it has me worried. I have a horrible habit of playing with the break site on that side. I feel it with my thumb to assure me that's it's still the same size and in the same place, but now I'm worried that the playing could have done some damage. I've been doing this since about 6 or 7 weeks out of surgery, and even though I know the plates are strong, I'm not sure if they're up to being fooled around with with that kind of deep poking and pressure. I don't know if this has impeded healing, or else moved stuff around. Perhaps I ate something too hard without pacing myself? I'm just not sure.  It could all be in my head, but I think it's worth mentioning to my surgeon. I feel like an idiot.

The other concern I can honestly say is not my fault one bit. That right tooth that's been shifted back from the rubber band is really interfering with my bite. It isn't allowing me to bite down the way I could after surgery, and it also seems as though the constant pulling is causing a can't. This could be an illusion from the fact that the gum over my left tooth has receded from when the other band cut through it. The constant pull to the right also seems to be causing my lower jaw to shift in that direction when I relax. My bite is all over the place, and once again, I don't know where my "true" bite is. Perhaps the inconsistent bite is what is causing the more recesses appearance on some days? :( I'm hoping that this tooth thing can be fixed, and that that will solve it all.

Voicing these things really scares me. If they're all in my head then I will be thrilled. But if not, then it means that I've screwed things up for myself and I have no idea of the implications. These are the secret things that have been nagging at me for weeks now, and I think it's time to fess up. I'm just not sure what it all means and next surgical visit I will spill it all to Dr A and see what he thinks.

I'm not in pain at all which is a plus, and eating is 99% back to the way it used to be save for the fact that I avoid really hard things like pretzels, carrots, bagels and chewy candy. Aside from these nagging worries things really seem to be alright. Life is back to normal for the most part, and if anything, it's better. I feel more confident in the way I look, I like my body again now that I've lost my freshman 15 and I have more stamina. I'm healthier now than I have been in a long time, and I'm pain free. I know that in the end this is what's important, but I can't stop beating myself up over the fact that I may have messed something up from my own stupidity and inability to just leave things alone.

I hope you all are doing really well, and please, take it from me, LEAVE THINGS ALONE! You'll be happier about it in the end.